Free Markets, Free People

Mass Senate Election Could Be Game Changer

Perhaps the most important political story this week – possibly this year – is the Senate race in Massachusetts. The vote is Tuesday. And, at the moment, it appears the Democrats are in trouble in a solidly blue state. The reasons are many. How much each reason contributes to the whole is debatable, but watching the reaction of Democrats to this unexpected and developing debacle has been somewhat comical.

Of course one of the reasons is the Democratic candidate. Mass Attorney General Martha Coakely has conducted a campaign – and I use the term “conducted” very loosely – that will most likely become the case study on how to lose an election in a state in which your party is the prohibitively dominant party. And a seat that has been in Democratic hands for almost 50 years. She’ not only a politically unattractive candidate, she is about as inept a politician as one can find. Combine all of that with a campaign that has mostly been missing in action and you can begin to understand why she’s trailing in the polls. I mean who else but the clueless would call beloved Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling a “Yankees fan”. Her campaign is trying to sell that as a joke gone wrong, but in Red Sox mad Massachusetts, you just don’t joke about some things.

So even with all of that going against her, other politicians have run poor campaigns in states which heavily favored their party and still won. Why couldn’t that happen in Massachusetts? Well, it could – let’s not fool ourselves. But in this case as inept and poor a candidate Martha Coakley has been, Scott Brown, the Republican, has been a good candidate. He’s been on message, on target and all over the place. The little known Republican, prior to the race, is pretty well known in the state now. And polls have him up slightly (by a point or three). Even internal Democratic polls show Brown with a lead.

This has prompted Democrats, over the last couple of weeks, to go from being a bit antsy to outright panic. First it was sending in operatives from the DNC. Then it was escalated to having Bill Clinton do a little campaigning for Coakley. And now the big boss, Barack Obama, has been summoned to the fray in an effort to somehow revive the flagging Coakely campaign.

It may be too little too late – one of the things I’ve been pointing too and I’ve seen others cite is an apparent “enthusiasm gap” among the two side. Scott Browns supporters are very enthusiastic about his candidacy and his chances of winning. Martha Coakley’s – not so much. In fact Blue Mass Group, a Massachusetts Democratic group blog recently entitled a post “I know it sucks but vote for Coakley” or words to that effect. A ringing endorsement if ever I’ve seen one. Enthusiasm is what drives voter turnout. And obviously voter turnout is the key. The enthusiasm the Democrats had for their brand just a few short months ago, has gone with the wind.

Secondly – independents aren’t staying under the Democratic umbrella. In fact, polls show them deserting in alarming numbers. Again, not a good sign for Democrats in general, but surely not a good sign for Coakley.

And, during my reading this past week (sorry no cite) I remember a poll which said about 20% of Democrats in Massachusetts don’t like the state’s health care program and are leaning heavily toward Brown. That means it may be Democrats who put the final nail in the Coakley coffin.

That brings up the question that is constantly asked and consistently denied by David Axelrod – is this election a referendum on the Democrats and the Obama agenda?

How could it not be? Look at the state. Look at the stakes (Brown means the HCR bill is dead). It is fraught with national political implications. To contend otherwise is simply whistling past the graveyard. If Brown wins the US political world is turned upside down. It will energize the right as has no recent election anywhere – a Republican in the “Ted Kennedy seat?” Are you kidding? That would be like electing Ariel Sharon to the presidency of Egypt.

It would also be the death knell of the liberal attempt to pass their agenda in Congress as the filibuster proof Senatorial majority would exist no more. Axelrod knows that. Obama knows that. And so do Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

The next day or so should see a spin up of the dirty tricks department like none in recent memory. Already the DCCC has released a smear mailer that simply isn’t supported by facts (and that has specifically refuted). More to come I’m sure.

But the bottom line is that there is a good chance that Scott Brown will win this thing. And per the GOP’s attorneys, if he does, Paul Kirk, the interim appointee there to fill the seat until the special election, may not be eligible to vote after Tuesday. What a wrench that throws, if true, into the machinations of the Harry Reid scheme to pass the bill before Brown could be seated.

This has the possibility of being a game changer of an election if Brown succeeds. And I’ve got to tell you, I’m ready for the game to change, that’s for sure.




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10 Responses to Mass Senate Election Could Be Game Changer

  • The President did come to Boston today, to help the ailing Martha Coakley campaign, at Northeastern University.  I am a 63 year old female, who stood outside on this cold Boston afternoon, with my SCOTT BROWN sign.  The Brown enthusiasm and energy is absolutely incredible…and we will vote !!

  • I have to keep reminding myself that this is MA .. not PA, MN, OH or some other battleground state.   This is MA ..  the state that when for McGovern when Nixon crushed him in 49 other states.
    I wouldn’t want to be a Democrat now .. even in a “safe” seat.

    • We still went for Reagan twice here, including the 49 state rampage in ’84.  We’ve had 4 R governors in recent years.  So, even the lib-addled of the Bay State can have moments of clarity.

  • While I expected some GOP pickups this year, I resigned myself to four years of One Party Rule. Just too deep a hole for the GOP to crawl out of in one cycle. But… if the Massachusetts miracle actually happens, it is very easy to envision 4 more pickups in November – which puts us at dead even with JB breaking the tie. Unless… unless… Joe Lieberman decides he has had enough of enabling his abusive co-dependent relationship with the Dems. I just hope that during their time in the wilderness, the GOP have not lost their skills at paying off Senators. They used to be pretty good at it. Almost as good as the Dems.
    I still think the House is out of reach this cycle, even with a tidal wave of enthusiasm. It is just too hard to flip the House.  Still, if (and it remains a big if – after all we are still talking about MA)  Brown can pull this off, I believe we have a good chance at restoring divided government in 2011.
    For me, that is the kind of CHANGE that inspires real<a href=””> HOPE</a>.

  • I keep waiting for Coakley to enlist Derek Jeter for some last-minute campaigning.

  • In a bad way, even a smidgen of gridlock between now and Nov 2010 and especially 2012 may play in to the Democrats favor in terms of the size of the broom when they get swept out of office.

  • I’m not so sure Brown means Health care is dead.  Its merely Senate procedural rules at best which they can chuck and disregard the consequences.  Or they just have to bribe off one more fence sitting Democrat or RINO.
    They firmly believe this is worth the short-term negative consequences and that once the public gets a taste of mother’s milk, they’ll come back for more.